Electric motorsport firm Drayson Racing Technologies has set a world land speed record for an electric car.
The British company set the FIA World Electric Land Speed Record at RAF Elvington yesterday after its Drayson B12 69/EV electric Le-Mans Prototype vehicle hit a top speed of 204.2mph beating the previous 175mph record set by Battery Box General Electric in 1974.
The firm’s founder and former UK science minister Lord Drayson was at the wheel of the electric vehicle (EV) for the attempt which was made in the sub-1000kg class at Elvington’s 1.86-mile runway.
As the new world record holder, Lord Drayson commented: “I’m delighted we’ve beaten the record tonight and can show the world EVs can be fast and reliable. Drayson Racing is a laboratory for EV technology, testing it to the most extreme level, as we’ve seen today.
“It is not the outright speed of 203mph that is most impressive about this record, but the engineering challenge of accelerating a 1000kg electric vehicle on a short runway over a measured mile. However I’ve got a great team and world-class partners, such as QualcommHalo, Michelin, Multimatic and Cosworth.
“This is a true celebration of Britain’s leading position within the burgeoning electric vehicle industry and I’m delighted to be at the forefront of this electric revolution. We hope to set more records tomorrow. ”
The 850 Bhp car was not originally conceived as a land speed car, but having raced its carbon fibre Lola chassis in sports car championships around the world powered by a second generation bio-fueled Judd V10 engine, the firm decided to explore the potential of the electric drivetrain and use the familiar Lola chassis as a starting point.
To challenge for the record changes were made to the set-up of the car and drivetrain to improve its performance on the low downforce circuit to give it the traction to achieve maximum acceleration in the short distance available, sustain maximum speed over a measured mile and stop safely.
“It is not the outright speed that is impressive about this record attempt, but the engineering challenge of accelerating a 1000kg electric vehicle to such a high speed and sustaining that speed over a measured mile, before stopping safely all within a relatively short distance then turning round and doing it again within an hour,” said Lord Drayson before the attempt.
“The reason we are doing this is to showcase the maximum level of EV performance at the moment; and in a real racing car rather than a teardrop-shaped land speed record car.
“We are also demonstrating the future potential of technologies like wireless charging in speeding the adoption of high performance EVs. It’s a great way to build up to the Formula E championship that we are competing in from 2014 and will demonstrate that Britain is at the forefront of this vital technology, which I believe represents the future of the automobile.”
Drayson Racing's was one of the first firms to sign up to the FIA's Formula E electric vehicle championship, due to begin in September next year, and a different vehicle is being developed for the firm by Singapore's Spark and Surrey-based McLaren for the first year of the competition.